SAN DIEGO — The CBS/Turner broadcast Friday of the Gonzaga-Oklahoma State game took an unusual turn when announcer Andrew Catalon made a reference to GU’s Polish sophomore center Przemek Karnowski as a “Polack.”
Late in the game, as Oklahoma State sent Karnowski to the free throw line in a strategy of fouling Catalon referred to it as a “Hack-a-Polack“ approach.
He apologized on the air and later did so in person to Karnowski, tweeting that Karnowski “was very gracious in accepting my apology.”
Karnowski acknowledged on an interview podium that he didn’t know the term was offensive and tweeted in part that “I really appreciate it! But the most important thing right now is we have this W (win).”
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After Karnowski spoke, GU coach Mark Few interjected: “I think the guy (Catalon) made an honest mistake and I don’t think we need to crucify him for it. We’ve all made mistakes, everybody in this room. Let’s move on and talk basketball.”
It was almost certainly the last college game for OSU guard Marcus Smart, who had 23 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists and six steals, becoming the first player in tournament history to go 20-10-5-5. Smart, a sophomore, is projected to be a high NBA draft pick.
“That’s not really my focus right now, this team is my focus,” said Smart, asked if the loss might change the expected jump to the NBA.
Let’s play four
Dave Sims, the veteran Mariners TV play-by-play man, was here doing heavy duty for Westwood One radio. He was facing a day full of broadcasting all four games Friday, or trying to match numbers and names for about 80 players.
“Was up until 12:30 last night,” he said. “It’s the most intense day of the year for me, without question.”
Sims, who has considerable NFL and college-hoops assignments in addition to the M’s, said he’s a disciple of the late Marty Glickman, longtime Knicks and New York Giants voice, which guides him in a long day’s broadcast.
“Score, time and who’s got the ball,” Sims said.
• There were similarities in this win and Gonzaga’s 69-68 cliffhanger at OSU last year: Smart scored 23 points in both games, GU made 15 turnovers in both, and Gary Bell Jr. was a big factor in each. He hit the winning three at Stillwater, and scored 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting in this one.
• Few on Bell: “He’s been playing very well these last three weeks. He’s hunting shots and doing some things offensively that maybe he wasn’t doing when he came back from his injury (a broken hand that kept him out most of January).”
• The win bumped Few’s record against Big 12 teams to 18-7.
• Oklahoma State had more than a few frustrating moments. Coach Travis Ford got a late first-half technical, and Phil Forte and Le’Bryan Nash had flagrant-1 fouls. Sixty-one fouls were called, and five players fouled out.